It probably hasn’t gone unnoticed that for over two months Newcastle had to get by with only two recognized center-backs in Fab Coloccini and Mike Williamson, after Steven Taylor was out almost three months with a severe hamstring pull.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - training last week
But then on the day Steven Taylor was ready to start, Newcastle had just brought in Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa the week before, and we suddenly had four experienced center-backs to choose from, after Fabricio couldn’t get a release from his contract at Newcastle, and is staying until the end of the season – at least.
And it was Fabricio and Steven who got the nod, although Mapou did make his debut in the last 10 minutes in the win against Aston Villa and put in a good shift, as we held on for the win.
With Taylor having been out for six months the season before, we could have done with Mapou coming in last summer, and we wouldn’t have been in the state we are in the league right now – but on the positive side – we suppose it’s better late than never.
And today both Sylvain Marveaux and Gabby Obertan are also now fit, after missing the game on Tuesday, so we should have a very strong bench – which we will need if we are to get the win.
Alan Pardew isn’t worried about having two experienced center-backs on the bench:
“Isn’t that the way it’s meant to be at a big club?” “It’s not a dilemma in my mind. It’s how it should be, in my mind. If one of those centre halves under performs, we have real competition sitting on the sidelines.”
“And I have played three center halves by the way, I’ve done it here as well in some games.” “I would be very surprised if he has to wait until next season for his debut.”
We were surprised to see Perch in the side on Tuesday night, but that was because Gabby and Sylvain were carrying knocks but with both of them being fit, we could see Sylvain Marveaux forming a front three with Gouffran and Papiss Cisse.
And we’ll have to hope that Papiss can show some of the goal scoring form he showed last season – now he is the main man at Newcastle again – after Ba left.
We’d love to get another win today – since we’ve been so short of wins since the beginning of November, but we’d be happy enough with another good performance and a point against the reigning European Champions.
Anything extra will be like icing on the cake.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org